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2009 Writing Contest-Other Entries

I was asked to post the other entries in the  2009 writer’s contest for Hive, Queen and Country. I have done so in heading labeled 2009 Contest under Fiction in the HQC Universe. As you can see the quality of entries was excellent and each had interesting things to say either about the HQC universe in particular or Steampunk in General. Good work to everyone and I hope folks enjoy them as much as I have.

Terry Sofian

Winner of the Hive, Queen and Country Writing Contest

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the winner of the HQC Writing Contest. The rules were simple, write a story, adventure, scenario or whatever using themes taken from three randomly selected books. There were a total of six entries and all showed a lot of work, creativity and a fine selection of random source material. The following story The Sniper, was selected by votes on my Yahoo group. I hope you enjoy this tale as much as I have. The author is a gentleman named Andrew Webb. He will be recieving his prize, which includes a unit of HQC bugs painted by me and a signed copy of The Hive and the Flame when that is published.

Here is the story-

Serjeant James Ireland of the 65th, he never would get used to the new territorial title “1st Battalion York & Lancaster”, damn Cardwell and all his ilk, as long as he lived, lifted the stock of his Holland & Holland .577 snipers rifle to his shoulder and began his routine check of the targets assigned to him. Nothing much had changed in the last fifteen minutes or so, but given the circumstance that was just as well.
“Hey soojint” came a low voice out of the darkness to his right. One of the men of the Boer Commando assigned for close protection to the British snipers wanted a chat it seemed. Serjeant Irelands instinctive response was to tell him to shut up until spoken too, but although that was normal (and expected) procedure when dealing with a talkative private of one of Her Majesty’s line, it was highly counterproductive when dealing with the inquisitive and highly touchy Boers, highly unproductive indeed. So stifling a sigh, serjeant Ireland replied “Yes Denis?”
“You sure you can hit those Russians from here?”
“Yes Denis, pretty sure”
“Sorry soojint, all this waiting is hard for we Afrikaners” Replied Denis, Sjt Ireland saw his shape move in the darkness.
“What was it like soojint? Fighting those creatures?” He asked.
Sjt Ireland thought for a minute or two, though it seemed like hours as the memories flashed through his mind. He saw his older brothers regaling him with stories of the Crimea, and fighting in India and New Zealand, he thought of his first skirmishes in the mountains of the North West frontier against the Pathans, and his first big battles. El Teb and Tamai in the Sudan, he would never forget those, especially the second fight at Tamai when the square broke. The “web feet”, the Royal Marines and sailors could not keep up and let a gap appear in the corner of the square. He remembered thousands of fuzzies appearing literally out of the ground, and the desperate attempts of the 42nd and 65th to reform in the chaos of hand to hand combat with sword wielding fanatics. He remembered his long bayonet dripping, no streaming, with blood and his uniform being covered in it, the sheer exhausted relief of seeing the fuzzies cut and run, and the vicious pleasure of revenge as he and his comrades fired into the retreating mass.
But for all that they were men, men who were your enemies certainly, but in whom you could recognize the qualities of bravery, honor, discipline, and self sacrifice. Men you could respect.
But the bugs, now that was different, very different indeed.
“The first battles, by God above they were nasty, and we learnt pretty quickly not to let them get too close” Sjt Ireland began “the cold steel was not a very good idea against the hive I can tell you! And that first Christmas offensive, well you would have read in the papers what happened to that. But we learnt Denis, we had to learn very quickly indeed” he continued to explain.
“We learnt about their weak points, about the tunnels and the nests, about the harvesters, about the queens and we learnt about the drones”
“Drones” whispered Denis “what are they”
“Sort of like a bug officer” replied the old serjeant “While they are on the field, the bugs keep coming no matter what, and act pretty much as one, kind of like the Guards really, however if you kill them, then the bugs come all over like new recruits on their first drill practice, all over the shop, they lose all direction and even start attacking each other”
“That’s where that monster rifle of yours comes in eh soojint?”
“Very observant Denis” he replied “come and have a look lads, we have a few minutes spare”
Four of the closest commandos, including their cornet, crept over to his sangar on the ridge line and examined the massive rifle and its large scope with what he could only think of as professional interest. Funny to think that they were simple farmers, but as Colonel Jamieson said “Remember, they may be farmers, but boy they can shoot! Remember Majuba!”
“This, my friends, is the Holland & Holland .577/3″ Nitro Express Special Service Rifle, with the Tower armory optical sight, effective at well over 2000 yards” He explained. “It is, as you can see, a magazine fed bolt action rifle, and will splatter drones as far as the eye can see, so you can imagine what it will do to a Russian!”
The grins of the Boers were plain to see even in the darkness.
“Why is the telescope so big?” Asked Cornet Johann Reitz
“It gathers the light, and trust me, when fighting the bugs it’s not good at all to be in the dark. We used to fire flares all night and use electric spotlights, and even then, well you can imagine, anyway here take a look” the Serjeant answered.
Johann took a look through the site at the Russian entrenchments. “By God almighty, it looks like a cloudy afternoon, not nighttime” he murmured.
Serjeant Ireland nodded, but his thoughts were far away, he saw the hordes of swarming bugs racing to defend their tunnels from Lord Wolseley’s second great assault. He felt his heart pounding again as he and his comrades rushed to identify and eliminate the drones which were directing the assaults against the massive armored juggernauts of the Royal Engineers armored corps. He saw again the massive bombardments by siege artillery, the gas strikes, and of course the deadly and repeated strafing by the Naval and Army Aerolyths….
And that was why they were here on the hills overlooking the Russian Imperial “Assistance Force” base near the Transvaal capital of Pretoria. The Russian light Aerolyths could cause absolute havoc with the planned Boer uprising, and delay or even stop assistance from British regulars and Imperial volunteers from Cape Province and Natal. They had to be eliminated.
As explained by his Captain, the Boers had won independence from Britain with significant support from Imperial Russia in 1881; however the Russian support had come with significant strings which rapidly became chains. The Boers now found themselves incorporated as Russian Crown possessions; prisoners of the very empire that they had thought would liberate them. They had been forced to turn to their former enemies the British for assistance.
Sjt Ireland had heard a similar story from members of the Georgian Legion which came to Britain to help fight the Hive, about the Russian depredations and oppression in their homeland, and how the Georgians turned to their ancient enemies the Turks in a desperate but ultimately forlorn attempt to regain their freedom.
Hopefully this would turn out better.
Sjt Ireland looked through his scope again. “Better get back into position lads, it’s almost time”
The Boer Commandoes quickly crept back into the darkness and disappeared from view. It never ceased to amaze him their ability to blend so quickly into their native countryside.
He went through his checklist of targets again, firstly as soon as the assault began he and the other snipers were to eliminate the Russian Maxim machine guns of the relevant redoubts. He quickly scanned the Russian tent lines and officers barracks, they would be the main target of the Royal Artillery 1-pdr Maxims, the “Pom-poms” firing indirectly, but it still paid to keep an eye on them.
Once the redoubts and support weapons were dealt with and the tent lines suppressed by the Pom-Poms, it would be the job of the snipers to hunt down Russian officers attempting to organize counter attack on the British cavalry troopers and Boers who were to capture two of the redoubts and a connecting series of trenches, and provide covering fire for the Royal Engineers and Boers who were to destroy the Aerolyth fliers and their hangars.
“Almost time” he thought, funny how the last few minutes before a battle seemed to be a constant battle with sleep, but in a few seconds he would be awake enough!
He could see the storming party creeping closer to the redoubts and trench lines they were to assault, a minute or two later he saw the bayonets rise and fall as the British troopers dealt with the unsuspecting sentries and silenced the sleeping garrisons of the positions they had captured.
“Any second now…”
Signal flares launched into the night from the captured positions, a sound like tearing canvas ripped overhead and a box barrage and “piston fire” erupted around and through the Russian tent lines and officers quarters. The incredible accuracy of the Babbage field calculators was uncanny, they might be too slow to use against a moving target, but against a fixed position they were simply incredible. The box barrage sealed off the tent lines, while other “Pom-poms” walked their fire with eerie accuracy through the tents with murderous effect.
Now it was the snipers turn, one by one he rapidly picked off his assigned targets and their crews as shocked and still half sleeping Russian conscripts stumbled from their bunkers in the redoubts below him. The training kicked in as always, he could almost hear the Serjeant Instructor of Musketry now. Select the target, breathe in, as you breathe out let the sights fall through the target, squeeze the trigger not pull, all the while bracing for the massive recoil from “Charlie the bastard”, observe the effect and repeat.
Within a few minutes the sniper teams had dealt with the redoubts closest to the breached line, thoroughly suppressing the surviving defenders and knocking out their machine guns. The Boer covering parties now took up the work of keeping the defenders heads down with great enthusiasm. The RA Pom-poms had lifted their fire to enfilade the Russian redoubts and trenches farthest from the entry point.
Sjt Ireland watched as dazed survivors from the tent lines began forming up behind a Russian officer waving his sword towards the captured redoubts.
“Brave, I will give them that” he thought as he swung his sights onto the distant figure.
“Sorry old son” He murmured as he lined up the young Russian officer, through the scope he could clearly see the young officer waving his men forward towards the nearest of the captured redoubts.
The Serjeant used the scope markings to estimate the range, and it was nice of the Russians to have so many pennants around for estimating windage.
The rifle kicked furiously as he squeezed the trigger, and nearly 1500 yards away the Russian officers chest and back exploded as the full metal jacketed .577 round smashed into him, leaving the following Russian soldiers stopped dead in their tracks. Other snipers had seen the danger, more high power rounds ripped into the crowded mass causing havoc and the counter attack rapidly collapsed.
A flash of light followed by a rolling boom split the night and showed the Royal Engineers were amongst their targets already, swiftly a second and third explosion sent flames and wreckage soaring into the night sky.
“One more to go” thought Sjt Ireland as he proceeded to cover the raiding party.
Suddenly the engineers and their Boer escorts began to go down in flailing heaps of men and horses, the survivors rapidly sought cover amongst the impedimenta of assorted engineering and base equipment.
“Damn it to hell” he swore, where was that fire coming from? Then he saw it, an armored car nosing its way out of the last hangar. Fire spat from its two machine gun turrets as it pinned down the Engineers and the Commandos.
“Coronet Reitz” He roared over the noise of the fighting “Get the other teams to concentrate fire on that wagon!” after a seconds pause he added “Sir!”
He took aim at what appeared to be the engine compartment, praying the armor there was not too thick. He could see the sparks and flashes all over the vehicle as the fire of the Royal Engineers and commandos bounced off.
The rifle bucked and an instant later a cloud of steam erupted from the front of the armored car.
“Bastard” he swore, it was steam powered, so much for the idea of setting it on fire then. He sighted just below one of the turrets and squeezed the trigger, wham, once again the rifle kicked like a mule.
Some of the other snipers had the same idea, it was impossible to know which shots penetrated the heavily armored crew compartment, but several did with lethal effect. Inside the vehicle the solid rounds bounced around until they hit something soft, such as the crew, while armor-piercing incendiary round set off the ammunition. The armored car burst into flame from an internal explosion as tracer rounds flew randomly into the night in all directions.
But disaster still loomed, the crew of the final Aerolyth gunboat had used the time gained by their comrades in the armored car to power up their craft, it began nosing its way out of the hanger past the burning wreckage, while its gatling guns began searching the hills in an effort to suppress the snipers and its maxims kept the engineers at bay.
Serjeant Ireland fleetingly saw a small group of engineers cut down as they attempted to rush the Aerolyth with a satchel charge.
He lined up the small bridge of the flyer; luckily the crew was too preoccupied with trying to get airborne to close the battle shutters. He took aim, and began to squeeze the trigger when a blow like a steam hammer smashed into his side. And dust, rocks, and gatling rounds filled the air around him, a Gunner on the Russian flyer had found his position.
Hands grabbed him from under the ruin of his sangar and pulled him over into cover. He looked up into Denis Reitz’s grinning face “You good soojint? Looks like you were lucky, only some rocks in your ribs my friend!” he laughed. Hell, it hurt anyway, the Serjeant knew he was out of this fight, and through clenched teeth he instructed “Damn it Denis, the Flyer, you have to aim for the bridge, NOW MAN!!”
Denis flopped down behind the rifle and peered through the scope, the rifle roared, and then again twice more as Denis corrected his fire.
Under a hail of fire from the British snipers, Cavalry troopers and Royal Engineers, and from the scores of Boer Commandos, the Russian Aerolyth turned and started to climb. Denis’ last shot penetrated the bridge side on, and the craft rolled over on its side and crashed to the ground, fire spewing from its gatlings and maxims to the last.
It was over.
“Well done Denis” Serjeant Ireland exclaimed through clenched teeth as the young Boer bandaged his broken ribs. The horse ride back to the rendezvous was going to be hell.
“Well done to you too Soojint” replied Denis.
All over the Russian station the surviving Russian troops were surrendering, the destruction of the last Aerolyth had broken them completely.
“Thank you Serjeant, and all your comrades” called Coronet Johann Reitz as the column rode down from the heights.
A few minutes later Denis was vomiting violently, Serjeant Ireland hobbled over and patted him on the back.
“Is it always like this?” Denis moaned as he wiped his mouth on his cuff.
“Only the first few times” the old Serjeant replied “Just pray you don’t get used to it like me lad” he added quietly. “You did well, I am glad you Boers are on our side”
Denis and Johann Reitz surveyed the carnage caused by the Royal Artillery Pom-Poms, and the British Sniper teams.
“Not as glad as I am to be on yours” replied the Coronet.
Colonel Jamieson and Commandant Botha looked on as the British regulars and their Boer comrades rode quickly away from the now burning and thoroughly looted Russian base. As they watched their respective troops pass Commandant Botha exclaimed “Well I am glad you did not fight like that a Majuba!”
Colonel Jamieson laughed, shook Botha’s hand and replied “Well, we hadn’t had to fight the bugs by then! We have found it pays to be less, shall we say, sporting! Let me tell you about it……”
Commandant Botha laughed in turn as he listened to his British counterpart, the great Boer rising was on!

Air Museums at Chino California

There are two very fine air museums at Chino Airport in California, Planes of Fame and Yanks Air Museum. Both are well worth the trip if you are in the area and since they are just at opposite ends of the runway.

http://www.yanksair.com/ 

http://www.planesoffame.org/index.php

I believe I saw more high gloss doped fabric at one airport than ever before!  Both museums are heavily involved in flying restorations. When I was there they had just flown a Zero fighter (not a reproduction, a restoration from an aircraft captured on Saipan). It was amazing to see such a bird sitting on the ramp. At Planes of Fame the forst gallery had a Boeing P-26 in bright prewar colors and a natural aluminum finish Seversky multiplace fighter.

 

Yanks had its share of stunning looking aircraft, including a great B-25 a number of earlier biplanes and a few bright and shiny jets!

Terry

QRF Miniatures

I placed a small order with Quick Reaction Force Miniatures a few days ago and postal strike or no postal strike it has arrived already! I had decided to sample a few things from a variety of their ranges. This included SF12 a Sci Fi Venus flytrap type plant. This comes in there versions, two waiting and one digesting. These are very nice and can serve in a variety of scales. In 6mm they could swallow small vehicles!

Three items from their dinosaur range (none of which are dinosaurs btw). Since in Hive, Queen and Country Venus has a lot of interesting creatures evolved from Mammal Like Reptiles I ordered a few packs of Placerias, and a pack each of Postosuchus and Cynodonts. The Cynodonts are a mated pair, a base with a few pups and a den. These are all workmanlike. The Placerias seem to have the dull looking expressions one would expect on soon to be extinct plant eaters. The Postoscuchus are large and have toothy grins. They look rather like enlarged iguanas with a dangerous smile.

I ordered a pack of MM12, male civilians in outdoor dress. I may be looking at a large number of these if I ever do a convention game of the Fall of Exeter. I’ll need mobs of terrified civilians  and these look good for the part.

Finally I ordered a pack of Australian Vickers teams and one of Vickers on mules. The firing teams are nice, but the two pack mules (one with gun the other with ammo boxes) are very nice indeed. A few more packs of them and I’ll have my Australian Light Horse Regiment totally complete and ready to defeat the Hive in Cornwall.

Nicely done and exceptional service given the strike.

Hague Treaty Outlaws Orbital Bombardment

On the proposition of the Heads of State of the Great powers, an International Military Commission having assembled at The Hague in order to examine the expediency of forbidding the use of certain projectiles in time of war between civilized nations, and that Commission having by common agreement fixed the technical limits at which the necessities of war ought to yield to the requirements of humanity, the Undersigned are authorized by the orders of their Governments to declare as follows:

Considering:                        That the progress of civilization should have the effect of alleviating as much as possible the calamities of war;

That the only legitimate object which States should endeavour to accomplish during war is to weaken the military forces of the enemy;

That for this purpose it is sufficient to strike at only the armed forces of another Power;

That this object would be exceeded by the employment of arms which uselessly aggravate the sufferings of civilians, destroy cities and spread destruction indiscriminately;

That the employment of such arms would, therefore, be contrary to the laws of humanity;

The Contracting Parties engage mutually to renounce, in case of war among themselves, the employment by their military or naval troops of any projectile with a weight greater than 10 kilograms launched, dropped or propelled from a height greater then 40,000 feet above the mean sea level of Earth or such that it has a velocity upon impact with the earth’s surface greater than 1,000 kilometers per hour.

They will invite all the States which have not taken part in the deliberations of the International Military Commission assembled at St. Petersburg by sending Delegates thereto, to accede to the present engagement.

This engagement is compulsory only upon the Contracting or Acceding Parties thereto in case of war between two or more of themselves; it is not applicable to non-Contracting Parties, or Parties who shall not have acceded to it.

It will also cease to be compulsory from the moment when, in a war between Contracting or Acceding Parties, a non-Contracting Party or a non-Acceding Party shall join one of the belligerents.

The Contracting or Acceding Parties reserve to themselves to come hereafter to an understanding whenever a precise proposition shall be drawn up in view of future improvements which science may effect in the armament of troops, in order to maintain the principles which they have established, and to conciliate the necessities of war with the laws of humanity.

Done at The Hague, 29 November 1872.

Cunard Liner Posted Missing!

From The Times June 12th, 1885

The Cunard Line has officially posted its Venus bound vessel Etheria as lost after her new drive system caused a massive explosion while leaving Earth orbit. The disastrous failure of the Nikola Tesla designed motors occurred within an instant of their activation and was witnessed by thousands in orbit and on Earth. Rescue vessels reached Etheria’s last known position within hours but so great was the destruction that little wreckage and no survivors have yet been found. It is believed that the entire vessel and all 4,212 souls aboard have been reduced entirely to vapour by the terrible detonation of the Tesla drive.

The first news of the accident received in London was contained in a Router message from announcing that the following telegram had been received from Singapore: The Singapore Highport Station reports in a heliograph communication that the liner Etheria has been destroyed in a violent explosion as she engaged her main interplanetary drive. The blast was extremely bright and has caused flash blindness in numerous station personnel but there have been no reports of damage to the station itself. Powerful telescope observation of the area of her last observed position has revealed no debris or lifeboats.

Within hours two vessels made the last known location of Etheria and have confirmed the worst fears. There are no survivors. What little wreckage that has been found may have been refuse jettisoned by Etheria prior to activation of her Tesla Drives.

LARGEST VESSEL IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. The Etheria was launched from the yard of Messrs. Harland and Wolff on Ascension Highport on May 31 last year; this vessel has a length of 1882 ft. and a beam of 292ft. If stood on end it would have been more than five times as high as St. Paul’s Cathedral. In regard to gross tonnage, the Etheria, boasts 46,382 tons, Her displacement tonnage, that is, her weight if she could be taken up and placed on a weighing machine, is another figure, which is probably in the neighbourhood of 60,000 tons, and it is this figure, together with the enourmous capacity of her engines, that must be thought of in any attempt to realize the force of the detonation. The blow to which she was subjected must have been enormous.

These engines appear to have been the cause of the massive explosion that totally destroyed Etheria. The Cunard Line had hoped to produce a marked improvement in the speed of interplanetary travel by replacing the Ewing-Stewart Drive with an entirely different type of propulsion, designed by a Croatian American inventor named Nikola Tesla. Mr. Tesla was on the vessel and was killed when his drives malfunctioned. It appears that the vast majority of his plans and notes were also aboard. This and the secrecy attendant to the new engines will make reconstruction of the events that lead to this tragedy nearly impossible.

The Cunard Line have received the following telegram from the Queen: Osborne House, Isle of Wight, 6.30 p.m. The Managing Director Cunard Line Company, Liverpool. We are horrified at the appalling disaster, which has happened to the Etheria, and at the terrible loss of life. We deeply sympathize with the bereaved relatives and feel for them in their great sorrow with all our hearts.

The following reply was dispatched: Her Majesty the Queen, Osborne House, Isle of Wight. We are deeply grateful to your Majesty for the gracious message of sympathy. This calamity is indeed overwhelming in its magnitude and in the sorrow it must bring to so many hearts. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure the knowledge of your Majesty’s sympathy shall reach all for whom it is intended. John Burns, David Jardine And Company.

The Prince of Wales telegraphed as follows: – Osborne House June 15th. To the Managing Directors, Cunard Line, Liverpool. It is with feelings of the deepest sorrow that I hear of the terrible disaster to the Etheria and of the awful loss of life. My heart is full of grief and sympathy for the bereaved families of those who have perished. To this message the following reply was sent: Your Majesty’s gracious message of sympathy is deeply appreciated by us, and will be cherished by all who have suffered bereavement by the sad loss of the Titanic. John Burns and David Jardine, managers Cunard Line.

MESSAGES TO THE COMPALNY. GERMAN EMPEROR’S SYMPATHY. The managers of Cunard have received innumerable messages of sympathy from all parts. In most cases these have been fully acknowledged, but it has proved practically impossible to do so in every instance, and the managers of Cunard desire to express their appreciation of the many kind messages that have reached them. Among those who have communicated their sympathy are the German Emperor, Prince Henry of Prussia, the President of the Board of Trade, the Postmaster-General, and Lord Derby.

CONGRESS RESOLUTION. WASHINGTON, July 17th. The House of Representatives to day unanimously passed a resolution extending its sympathy to the relatives of those who met their death in the Etheria disaster.

The disaster that has overtaken the Etheria is a forcible reminder of the existence of natural forces which from time to time upset all our calculations and baffle all our precautions. The Etheria has been peculiarly unfortunate in suffering an event of exceptional severity upon her maiden voyage. Details are as yet very meager and very contradictory, but there is too much reason to fear, from the later messages, that the ship has exploded, not without serious loss of life. Everything had been done to make the huge vessel indestructible, and her owners believed her to be so. It may perhaps be doubtful whether any precautions could ensure that a ship shall be indestructible by such a terrific shock as that caused by the disintegration of her own extremely powerful engines.

It is all the more striking because it has occurred upon one of the best-known and most frequented regions of space, the most traveled highway of the solar system, and because the ship is the latest and most elaborate triumph of engineering science. It is probably well for their peace of mind that few travelers across the void realize the extent to which disasters are a constant preoccupation and anxiety to the commanders of great ships. There arc probably few who could not tell of hairbreadth escapes all unknown to the passengers under their care.

We owe it to patient research in a delicate and difficult branch of science that the Etheria’s loss was observed by so many stations both in orbit and on the surface of the Earth. These stations were able with wonderful promptitude to make known her distress and to summon assistance. But for telescopy and heliography the disaster might have assumed proportions which at present we cannot measure; and we should have known nothing of its occurrence for an indefinite period. Many a well-found ship has in fact disappeared in the high dark without leaving a sign to indicate her fate. Thanks to the multiplicity of powerful apparatus, it is now hardly possible for any vessel to be lost on any frequented route without being able to communicate information and to summon help. The advantages conferred by this abridgment of space are enormous. No vessel need be alone, none need vanish without a sign from human ken, and in none but crushing and instant disasters need any despair of help. This is surely one of the greatest of the many boons conferred upon humanity by patient, persistent, and often very discouraging inquiry into natural laws, carried on, at all events in its initial stages, by students animated only by love of knowledge. But few besides experts have the faintest conception of the difficulties to be overcome, or of the mental and moral equipment needed to overcome them, when the hints were few and obscure, when every instrument had to be called out of the void, and when hope of gain, if considered at all, was infinitely remote. It is hard to wring these secrets from Nature’s close reserve, and when man has done his best ho is reminded from time to time how much remains beyond his knowledge and his control.

Nothing, in fact, should be overlooked that offers any prospect of helping to avert those dangers of Interplanetary travel, which are so forcibly brought home to us by the catastrophe that has overtaken the splendidly built and equipped Etheria.

East Riding Miniatures

East Riding Miniatures does a range of extremely useful figures for 15mm. These include a variety of nice livestock useful for many periods as well as some well cast weapon fittings such as a 9 pdr QF gun and a Maxim machine gun, both on shielded pedestal mounts.

I ordered a fairly large number of farm animals and more than enough hounds for a large 15mm Fox Hunt. The sheep, cows, and pigs all look great and will provide the Hive with food for many new hivemembers! I also bought a number of frogmen warriors. I had been looking for amphibian tribesmen for the oceans of Venus. I’m still not certain if I want to go the frog route. Should I decide on frogs for Venus these will form the core of that army.

The castings are uniformly nice and scale well. They fill some gaps and are reasonably priced. Tony of ERM was extremely helpful. When the order was mysteriously delayed in transit he was in constant contact via email and provided excellent customer support. I look forward to filling out the herds and flocks of Cornwall, so that my alien invaders have something to eat!

Splintered Light Miniatures

I ordered from Splintered Light Miniatures I think Sunday Night. The figures arrived TODAY. I only made a small order, just to see what their products are like. I had asked around the web and was uniformly told that their service is great and their miniatures matched that.

I was truly happy with both service and substance!

I only ordered five packs: Armed and unarmed starship crews, Terror Birds, Komodo Dragons and Lizardman Cavalry. All are excellent. The Terror Birds come in two poses and are well detailed. The lizardmen look fearsome riding bipedal dinosaurs. For spaceship crews the influence of Firefly seems to have landed with Splintered Light as it has so many other places. This isn’t a bad thing and the SLM sculpture has done very well indeed. I also really liked the Komodo Dragons. Now if they would just make Dr Quest and Race Bannon in 15mm I could game out one of my most favorite Hanna Barbarra cartoon adventures!

Actually I really hope that more prehistoric animals get added to the line (If a Megatherium showed up that I could use as a cavalry mount I would immediately order about 50 of them!)

Great work from a company that provides amazing service, great figures and reasonable pricing.

Keep it up!

Terry Sofian

ONLY A FEW HOURS LEFT

The VSF contest has gone better than I expected. There are currently six contestants. With a few hours left perhaps one or two more will arrive. To view the entries you must sign onto the Yahoo group at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Hivequeen/. This should keep bounders, blighters, spammers and other ruffians at bay!

Terry